'm a little worried about this matchup (assuming that Kansas pulls its head out of its ass and plays a complete game), so I didn't do any cocky demeaning of their mascot or whatever. Instead, I decided to go a little more conservative and just celebrate the guys for their excellent play in the tournament thus far. Hope you enjoy the wallpaper, even if it's only for a day or two. Go Blue, Beat Kansas!
When we last left off with our heroes...
DESMOND BLOCKHAM WAS IN AN ACCIDENT LAST WEEK
that may or may not have involved, well, a Twosie. A tandem bicycle.
He was then DIAGNOSED WITH A STRANGE CONDITION which
in turn prompted him to attempt to walk on to the Michigan
football team. After being mauled on a controversial play
that some readers say drew the ire of the football gods,
DESMOND WAS OFFERED A SPOT ON THE TEAM
by Coach Hoke. And so he was sent to the
equipment manager to get his uniform...
(Click the Image to See Full Size Version)
Yeah, I know this isn't how it works. But pretty much every story I've ever heard about Big Jon Falk is that he's a pretty nice guy and has helped thousands of people out over the years. Besides, we're talking about a scrawny kid who's been invited onto the team because of some bizarre medical condition straight out of a bad Syfy made-for-TV movie. So perhaps you can suspend your disbelief regarding the appropriate process for assigning uniform numbers to walk-ons as well.
As of the time of this writing there are currently no semi-colon jerseys
available for sale at the MDen. But it is, after all, only spring.
Friday Fun will probably make fun of the word Jayhawk in some way. Go Blue.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every week here at MGoBlog and on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Fun, my weekly single panel comic based on trending Michigan events, available on Twitter and the home page every Friday.
Friday 7:37 Cowboy Stadium TBS
I dont remember a lot about Bill Self's Illinois teams. I remember that his last team(he coached there from 01-03) put an end to Michigan's 13 game winning streak. Illinois was playing with a chip on their shoulder, having taken a tough loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16 the previous year(small world). That would have been Daniel Horton's freshman year, as well as the first time I was really excited about Michigan basketball(since the fab 5 anyway).
Michigan ended up finishing 3'rd in the big ten, but yeah...like everyone else in the Amaker era, those players would suffer for something they had nothing to do with; they were post-season inelegible.
I vaguely remember going to the rematch in Crisler. Mostly I remember Illinois power forward Brian Cook hitting everything from everywhere. Shots contested by Graham Brown and Chris Hunter. I swore that Cook had made a deal with the devil.
At the time I thought he was the best player that I'd ever seen. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media.
Michigan made a game of it, but in the end it was just too much Cook. Illinois won 82-79, on the back of Cook's 26 points and 7 boards. Illinois would go on to finish second in the league, and win the big ten tournament.
At the end of that year, Roy Williams left Kansas for North Carolina, and Bill Self swore up and down that he was happy at Illinois. He boarded a plane bound for Lawrence a few days later.
At Kansas, Bill Self has won nine Big 12 titles and one national championship(2008). Last year they fell to Kentucky in the NCAA Championship, 67-59. Kansas stands second to only Kentucky with 2,101 wins, the last one coming against Roy Williams's North Carolina team. Small world indeed.
Michigan has something like 1,458 wins by my math, although some would argue for 1,571. We wont catch them in our children's lifetimes. Maybe never.
When last we met: Video http://www2.kusports.com/videos/2011/jan/09/33848/
Kansas rolled into Ann Arbor in January of 2011 expecting to crush Michigan under their Goliath boot. Stu and Zack had other plans, pulling down 21 rebounds between them and taking Kansas to overtime.
In the end Kansas's Marcus Morris went all Brian Cook on us, scoring 22 and grabbing 10 rebounds. Michigan would lose in overtime 67-60, but Kansas limped away knowing they'd been in a fistfight.
Kansas is a tough, tough defensive team. They dont press as much as Self has in the past, but they man you up in the half court like few teams in America. They will turn you over in a heartbeat, and 7 foot senior center Jeff Withey is averaging 4 blocks/game. Michigan is going to have to execute at a very high level to score on these guys.
Kansas's offense has been hot and cold. Self runs a hi-lo motion offense designed to get post players one on one deep in the paint. This results in a lot of defenses "packing it in" in the paint, making it very difficult for Kansas's guards to get to the rim. This is somewhat exacerbated by the Jayhawk's lack of a truly elite slasher. Their point guard tandem of Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe, as well as swingman Travis Releford can put the ball on the floor and even beat their man, but in the games I've watched they seem more comfortabe using the advantage to kick the ball out to the perimeter rather than finding a cutting big or finishing near the basket. Some have pointed to McGary's tendence to "over-help" as the achille's heel of his defense, and Kansas's ability to take advantage of post players off the drive(which frankly they haven't shown much) may tell the tale of the ballgame.
Kansas gets a lot of post touches and a lot of shots from the perimeter. That means few Kobe assists and lots of long rebounds. Those are fast break opportunities that Michigan will have to capitalize on if they want to reach the Elite Eight. Kansas likes to score in transition too, so a lot is going to be dependent on A. Can Burke get into the lane? and B. Which team is going to hit their jumpers?
I suppose before I get too far ahead of myself we should do a little "meet the Jayhawks".
6-5 freshman guard Ben Mclemore is the leading scorer at 16per.
He shoots 50% from the floor and 42% from downtown. You dont want to leave that guy open. Fortunately he hasn't been shooting too well as of late. he chipped in just 2 points against North Carolina. Hopefully that trend continues.
7ft senior center Jeff Withey has been carrying the Jayhawks through the tourney at 17 pts/g(14/g for the year) shooting 58%.
He also grabs 9 boards and blocks 4 shots, altering countless others. He can be outworked and outpositioned, but this is going to be a tough matchup for McGary, Morgan or Horford. His man has got to keep a body on him whether a teammate is getting beat or not. Help is going to have to come from somewhere else.
6-6 senior guard Travis Releford chips in 12 points and 3 assists shooting 57% from the floor and 42% from downtown.
You dont need Kobe assists when you're shooting like that.
Those are Kansas's elite players. Their supporting cast is competent as well, starting with 6-4 senoir point guard Elijah Johnson. He averages 10 points and 5 dimes, shooting 38% from the floor and 33% from downtown. He takes a lot of jumpers(second only to Mclemore). Kansas fans would like to see him drive and distribute more. He shares the point with 5-11 sophomore Naadir Thorpe. Thorpe averages 6 points and 3 assists shooting 35% from the field and 34% from downtown. The other bigs are 6-8 senior forward Kevin Young and 6-8 freshman forward Perry Ellis. They combine for 14 points and 11 boards between them.
So alright, its going to be tough to score on these guys. But make no mistake, this is no David vs Goliath matchup like the one a couple years ago. The first time Beilein went down to Chesterton, he came back with a bulldog in a pug's body. This time he went down there and brought back the bulldog.
This is going to be a Goliath vs Goliath matchup, maybe the best one we see in the tourney. Transition buckets and post defense are going to be key factors. Looking back on this year, on all the battle scars this team has weathered...I have to believe that that act of God Wisconsin shot happened for a reason. That maybe that last shot against Indiana was meant to hang on the rim for an eternity before falling off. Maybe I've just seen "Signs" one too many times, but I think maybe we'll see the results on Friday.
This is my first diary, and the statistical analysis isn't normalized as much as I'd like (just gathering the data was tedious enough). Ironically, I put this together Monday, only to see Brian's DOME post on Tuesday. He graciously upped my MGoPoints so I could post this.
Be kind - constructive criticism is much apprecited.
Now that we're facing the Regional Semifinals/Finals, I thought I'd try to quantify the effect of the venue on scoring totals. For this exercise, I complied a list of all Sweet Sixteen teams over the past 5 NCAA Tournaments (2008 - 2012). I also included this year's teams. I looked at the regular season scoring avererags for the individual teams*, the individual team scoring average for the Tournament thus far (including all games not played at football stadium/dome sites), and then the average scoring for those teams during the Regional Semifinals/Finals and Final Four games.
*Taken from the Wednesday prior to NCAA Tournament games
LIMITATIONS: Obviously, the data is going to be affected by the quality of opponents and individual matchups. It follows that the Sweet Sixteen teams typicaly score more during the first weekend, as opposition isn't as elite as the teams they may face the rest of the tournament. My hope is including a larger sample size and including regular season averages helps mitigate that impact to some degree. The regular season scoring average is also the raw statistic, not adjusted for tempo-free. Last caveat is that overtime periods (especialy for tournamet games) may impact final numbers (there have been 18 OT games since 2008 - not all in the first weekend or involving Sweet Sixteen teams - vs. 160 total games for my sample size)
Before I get into that analysis, another interesting trend emerged. From comparing a team's regular season scoring average to the team's tournament (non-football site) average, it becomes possible to rank the Sweet Sixteen teams against their increase or departure from their regular season scoring average. In four of the past five seasons, among Sweet Sixteen teams, one of the top two teams that increase their scoring average in the tournament over their regular season average made the Final Four. Similarly intersting is that in four of the past five seasons, one of the bottom two teams who score LESS in the tournament than their regular season average also made the Final Four:
|YEAR||TEAM||SCORING DECREASE||TOURNEY PPG (1st Weekend)||REG SEASON PPG|
|2008||UCLA||1st / -13.5||60.5||74.0|
|2010||Duke||2nd / -7.5||70.5||78.0|
|2011||Kentucky||1st / -11.4||65.0||76.4|
|2012||Kansas||1st / -11.5||63.5||75.0|
|YEAR||TEAM||SCORING INCREASE||TOURNEY PPG (1st Weekend)||REG SEASON PPG|
|2008||UNC||1st / +21.8||110.5||88.7|
|2009||UConn||2nd / +20.2||97.5||77.3|
|2011||VCU||2nd / +9.5||81.0||71.5|
|2012||Kentucky||1st / +7.3||84.0||76.7|
This year, the teams with the biggest scoring increase are ohio state* (87.5 ppg tournament, 69.3 reg season) and FGCU (79.5 ppg tournament, 72.3 ppg reg season)
The teams with the biggest scoring decrease this year are Indiana (70.5 ppg tournament, 80.0 ppg reg season) and Oregon (62.5 ppg tournament / 71.7 ppg reg season)
* Personally, I do not capitalize ohio state or osu. Out of spite.
So, back to the overall point of this exercise. Do football stadiums/domes negatively affect scoring more than basketball arenas? Based on my research, no.
In the past five tournaments, there have been 11 basketball-arena sites hosting the second weekend of the tournament and 9 football-stadium sites.
- Overall, scoring is down: -8.1% the second weekend vs the first weekend; -8.4% from a team's regular-season scoring average.
- True basketball sites have a larger drop in scoring: -9.9% from tournament average, -10.5% from regular season average.
- Football stadiums see a drop of only 6.2% and 6.3%, respectively.
All Final Fours have been played in football stadiums over the past five tournaments. Scoring is down 15.0% from previous tournament performance and down 14.9% from regular season performance.
There were a few outlier games/teams/seasons which impact the analysis (full chart - ED-S: I put it as a Google Chart here). Breaking it down by venue shows further impact (also gives wise readers some insight to Vegas totals for the East Region at Lucas Oil):
|VENUE||VAR / TOURNEY PPG||VAR / REG SEASON PPG||YEAR|
|FORD FIELD||-15.74%||-10.73%||2009 FF, 2008 MW REG|
|LUCAS OIL||-14.81%||-15.40%||2013 MW REG, 2010 FF, 2009 MW REG|
|RELIANT STADIUM||-11.67%||-13.19%||2011 FF, 2010 S REG. 2008 S REG|
2011 SW REG, 2008 FF
|EDJONES DOME||-7.84%||-10.40%||2012 MW REG, 2010 MW REG|
|PHOENIX STADIUM||-4.11%||+4.77%||2009 W REG|
|GEORGIA DOME||+9.11%||+8.21%||2012 S REG|
(Cowboy Stadium has never hosted NCAA Regionals/Final Four)
Every morning I wake up and go through the same process. I head straight to the Keurig and start making coffee. I use the make-your-own filter because it saves money and lets me choose from different types of ground coffee, but it doesn't taste very good. There's always grit in the bottom of the cup, like the ugly duckling cousin of french press coffee.
I'm a creature of habit, you see. Sure, the coffee I make admittedly isn't very good but I continue to make it. It's just what I do in the morning. At some point I think hockey slipped into that domain for me.
I love hockey, always have and always will. At some point, though, it just wasn't as exciting as it used to be. I watched all season long but couldn't bring myself to write one of these goal-by-goal analysis posts from November to February because it just isn't much fun to write about how it feels to get punched in the face repeatedly.
I started writing again because there was a storyline besides misery to write about. Either The Streak would come to a screeching halt or it would be miraculously continued. What came of this was more than I could have hoped for in some ways and a bitter disappointment in others.
The second period of the Miami game reminded me why hockey became part of my routine in the first place. Those four goals were an adrenaline bomb to the system, the crescendo of a symphony writ by composite sticks, metal blades, and a black rubber sphere. I can't remember the last time I was that excited about hockey, and in that way the tournament run demonstrated just how far this team had come.
At the same time, I don't see how this season can avoid being labeled a failure. Sure, the team came on strong when its collective back was against the wall. They also finished below .500 and broke The Streak. Lessons will undoubtedly be learned from this season, and as Brian said in his post the future does indeed look bright. If anything this season will be remembered for both utter ineptitude and the kind of performance that can only come from seeing the prospects of your future in front of you and fighting like hell to avoid them.
At least, that's how I'll remember this team. They were both the team that sleepwalked through being bludgeoned by the Bowling Green Falcons at home and the team that obliterated the No. 3 Miami Redhawks in the CCHA semifinals.
CCHA Semifinals: Michigan vs. Miami- March 23, 2013
Previously: Hoke hosts Michigan Men's Football Experience.
|Ann Arbor, MI – 5'9", 197|
|Scout||1*, #815 FB|
|Rivals||NR, listed as "User"|
|ESPN||2*, #41 LB|
|24/7||NR, "That guy on
|Other Suitors||Spouse, Children, MSU|
|YMRMFSPA||Jordan Kovacs if he was 25 years older and not good at football|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Probably left a few comments here and there. Maybe a diary.|
|Notes||Once got to hold the Brown Jug.|
Admit it: you've had that dream where you're a member of the Michigan football team. You're hardly alone. No matter your actual talent and experience in football—or in my case the almost total lack thereof—if you're on this site you've probably already committed an embarrassingly large portion of your subconscious to inventing scenarios where you'd get to touch the banner, to sing The Victors in the locker room with a rose in your teeth, to knock your winged helmet against a silver one with bird poop stickers all over it.
Then you think about the various permanent complaints your body might have after four or five years of that. So maybe just for like two days. Two days spent living the life of a Michigan Wolverine. Too bad they don't sell tha…
Oh they do.
The above is video from last year's Michigan Men's Football Experience, which is happening again this June 6-7.
Yes, You Join the Football Team!
For 48 hours you are a Michigan football player. You check into the team hotel, and arrive at team meetings 15 minutes early (or else you're late). You get assigned a jersey number and meet your coaches, Brady Hoke and Lloyd Carr, and their staff, and have dinner in the Stadium Club with a squad's worth of Michigan legends. On Day 2 you wake up at 6 a.m. and hit the field with your position coaches to learn fundamentals, possibly joining the ranks of the men on this planet who can claim they've been drilled by Greg Mattison on pad level.
You also review film, enjoy a pre-game meal, and finally get to suit up in the locker room, stand in the tunnel, and touch the banner while being played out by the greatest fight song this side of the galaxy.*
If that's not close enough to THE REAL THING™ for you, once you're registered send me an email and we'll put together an MGoBlog-style recruiting profile.
What's the Catch?
It costs money.
I have that. What's the cause?
Prostate cancer research. More specifically the Men of Michigan Prostate Cancer Research Fund. The university is at the vanguard of global research on prostate cancer, which is the most common form of cancer for men. The fund pays for research in gene fusion, hereditary risk, genetic screening techniques, and new drug therapies. There's more about the fund here. The short of it is there are few more active fronts in the battle of humans versus cancer than the research going on at Michigan, and that's what the fund supports.
Who came up with this?
The Michigan Men's Football Experience began in 2006, the brainchild of a prostate cancer survivor to honor the doctor who saved his life. The survivor was David Brandon (yes THAT David Brandon), then the CEO of Domino's. The doc was James Montie, then-chair of the U-M Department of Urology. Brandon approached Carr about the concept, and the two of them worked out the details. When he arrived in 2011, Brady Hoke was asked about continuing the tradition, to which he replied "Absolutely!"
Guru Reliability: High. Already long past eligibility, so unlikely to supplant Devin Gardner this year.
Variance: Low. Realistically your chances of playing in the NFL are going to be just about the same they were before you got here.
Ceiling: Low-plus. Role player of some variety, possibly important
General Excitement Level: Through the roof.
Projection: A spot isn't cheap, and they tend to move fast. Also a lot of little donations are just as important to the fund as a few biggies. If you are unable to attend, you can still donate here. If you have any questions, email Doreen at [email protected].
* This is just opinion; there's a little ditty sung by a high school near Palomar I that is eerily similar to Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone.